Playing at Stillness

Rhina P. Espaillat

$14.95

Rhina Espaillat’s poems almost never fail to give me pleasure; even in her slighter poems one finds a serene technical skill, charm, wit and good sense. And when the theme asks for her best and the spirit is on her, she gives us again and again what Borges liked to call el thrill. I can think of few contemporary poems as thrilling as “Vandalism,” “Instruction,” “When We Sold the Tent,” “November Music,” “Cousins,” and “Old House,” and there are others. In a dark age, she gives off light. She is one of our finest poets.

—Bob Mezey

Clear
Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A
Format

Paperback

ISBN: N/A Category: Tag:

Look Inside

Description

For years, I have been telling everyone I know about Rhina Espaillat’s work, giving her books to friends as gifts, teaching her poems in my writing workshops, rereading them to renew and affirm my faith in the written word. She has been and continues to be one of my favorite American poets. Playing at Stillness displays her range—from exquisitely executed formal verse to wonderfully fluid and appealing free verse poems. Humorous and playful, astute and poignant, she never gets in her way—her craft does all the work and we delight in the results. The poems keep surprising me. Again and again as I read them, I feel deeply grateful to this wonderfully generous and skilled writer, Rhina Espaillat.

—Julia Alvarez

Rhina Espaillat’s immaculate verse is characterized by a bemused melancholy and serenity which are precious hard to find in American letters. A greater contrast to her contemporaries (and I believe her inferiors), Plath and Sexton, would be similarly hard to find. This is a wonderful collection in which every parent will find the best poem for a son’s wedding that I have ever read (yes, even better than Wilbur’s!) But readers long familiar with Espaillat might be surprised by the wit with which she rebukes Nature in “Back Yard Talk,” or the God in whom she disbelieves in “On the Avenue.”

—Tim Murphy

Rhina Espaillat writes beautiful lines: “…shadows fall / like small change / out of the wind’s pockets.” And she turns them into beautiful poems that are a true pleasure to read.

—Lewis Turco

Contents

Acknowledgments

Nucleus to Nebula
Weeping Fig
Any Soldier
Through the Window
Look to the Small Birds
Overheard at the Zoo
Raccoon
Queen Anne’s Lace
Counterclockwise
Prime Numbers
Snow
Wild Roses
Back Yard Talk
Primitive Landscape
Bird Summer
Physics
Particles
Maudslay Park

Home Movies
Eden on Sunday
Circling the Jellyfish
Kite Flying
Learning to Ride
For My Son on His Wedding Day
October
The Trap
Six
Four
Cousins
Drinking the Colors
This Is To Tell You
Instruction
I Heard You Moving Through the Web of Sleep
Tribute
Needlework
People in Home Movies

The Way Things Are
Easy Words
A Eulogy, Maybe
Nativity
Eyes
Two Nuns at the Mall
For an Old Friend Encountered Unexpectedly
Answering to Rilke
Compensation
Mission Bell
Express
Martha Considers the Lilies
Reading
Michael’s Veterans Remember
The Way Things Are
Wheelchairs
On the Avenue
January Buds.

Settling
Chapter One
Late January
The Poet Makes Chicken Soup
Morning Song
February
Old House
Knee Deep in August
Undelivered Mail
Remind Me, Gold
Variations on a Theme of May Swenson
When We Sold the Tent
Retrospect
November Music
Settling
Vandalism
Sad Song
Between You and the Dead, It’s All Uneven
Arachne
Tea

Wool from an Old Sweater
Marginal
“…After the Signal”
The Ballad of San Isidro
Woolworth

About the Author

Authors

Rhina P. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic and lives in Massachusetts. Her work has been published widely in magazines and anthologies and on websites, and she has received numerous awards for her poetry. She coordinates the Newburyport Art Reading Series, and is a frequent reader, speaker, and workshop director at various institutions.

TSUP has also published two of her other poetry collections, Where Horizons Go and Her Place in These Designs.

Reviews

Espaillat is a poet of both surfaces and depths, someone who crafts fine lines.

The Hudson Review

You may also like…